Traditional Mass

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Continued . . .

Let us say a few words about floral decorations for the altar. These few remarks may be of interest to sacristans, and even to others. . . .

1. What kind of flowers should we place on the altar?
Natural cut flowers are desirable, and preferable to all other. They are like a sacrifice offered to the Lord.
Natural flowers in flowerpots are not forbidden by the rubrics. Liturgists, however, stipulate that they should not be placed on the altar.
Artificial flowers are, in general, tolerated. Paper flowers are prohibited in Rome, and Cardinal Mercier dubbed them "dust-collectors."

2. Where should they be placed?
It is forbidden to place flowers in front of or on the tabernacle. Flowers are regularly placed between the candlesticks. Outside of mass (for instance, during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament), flowers may be placed on the altar table; but not in front of the tabernacle.

3. When are flowers used?
Flowers are not always used in profusion. Their use should be graduated according to the rank of the solemnity or feast.
Flowers are prohibited: During penitential times (as, for instance, in Advent or Lent)--during a Solemn Mass of Requiem--during the blessing of the candles on the second of February--on the Vigil of Pentecost--and during Ember Days.
As an exception, the use of flowers is permitted: On the third Sunday of Advent--on the fourth Sunday of Lent--at the Mass of the Vigil of Christmas--at the Mass of Holy Thursday.

4. How should flowers be arranged?
With good taste and moderation. A too great abundance of flowers does not always serve to adorn. . . . One should take into consideration the setting, the lighting, the character of the feast, the way the flowers harmonize together, etc.
{From 'Your Mass and Your Life,' to be continued . . .]